Episodes Archive

Our Latest Show May 21, 2015

Movies, for some of us, are a form of modern church. The Argentinian composer and musician Gustavo Santaolalla creates cinematic landscapes — movie soundtracks that become soundtracks for life. He's won back-to-back Academy Awards for his original scores for Brokeback Mountain and Babel. We experience his humanity and creative philosophy behind a kind of music that moves us like no other.

Episode Archive

May 2015

May 21, 2015

Movies, for some of us, are a form of modern church. The Argentinian composer and musician Gustavo Santaolalla creates cinematic landscapes — movie soundtracks that become soundtracks for life. He's won back-to-back Academy Awards for his original scores for Brokeback Mountain and Babel. We experience his humanity and creative philosophy behind a kind of music that moves us like no other.

May 14, 2015

She has called Brain Pickings, her invention and labor of love, a “human-powered discovery engine for interestingness.” What Maria Popova really delivers, to hundreds of thousands of people each day, is wisdom of the old-fashioned sort, presented in new-fashioned digital ways. She cross-pollinates — between philosophy and design, physics and poetry, the intellectual and the experiential. We explore her gleanings on what it means to lead a good life — intellectually, creatively, and spiritually.

May 07, 2015

It is a story of our time — the new landscape of living longer, and of dying more slowly too. Jane Gross has explored this as a daughter and as a journalist, and as creator of the New York Times’ “New Old Age” blog. She has grounded advice and practical wisdom about caring for our loved ones and ourselves on the far shore of aging.

April 2015

April 30, 2015

He’s been called a post-millennial Schubert. Mohammed Fairouz has composed four symphonies and an opera while still in his 20s. He invokes John F. Kennedy and Anwar Sadat, Seamus Heaney and Yehuda Amichai in his compositions. He sees "illustrious language" as a form of music — and as a way, just maybe, to shift the world on its axis.

April 23, 2015

A passionate translator of the beauty and relevance of scientific questions, Margaret Wertheim is also wise about the limits of science to tell the whole story of the human self. Her Institute for Figuring in Los Angeles reveals evocative, visceral connections between high mathematics, crochet and other folk arts, and our love of the planet.

April 16, 2015

What would it take to make our national encounter with gay marriage redemptive rather than divisive? David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch came to the gay marriage debate from very different directions — but with a shared concern about the institution of marriage. Now, they’re pursuing a different way for all of us to grapple with the future of marriage, redefined. They model a fresh way forward as the subject of same-sex marriage is before the Supreme Court.

April 09, 2015

Steeped in the cutting edge of research around the social lives of networked teens, danah boyd demystifies technology while being wise about the changes it’s making to life and relationship. She has intriguing advice on the technologically-fueled generation gaps of our age — that our children’s immersion in social media may offer a kind of respite from their over-structured, overscheduled analog lives. And that cyber-bullying is an online reflection of the offline world, and blaming technology is missing the point.

April 02, 2015

A Jesuit priest famous for his gang intervention programs in Los Angeles, Fr. Greg Boyle makes winsome connections between service and delight, and compassion and awe. He heads Homeboy Industries, which employs former gang members in a constellation of businesses. This is not work of helping, he says, but of finding kinship. The point of Christian service, as he lives it, is about “our common calling to delight in one another.”

March 2015

March 26, 2015

From the moment of his diagnosis with ALS, Bruce Kramer began writing — openly, deeply, and spiritually — about his struggle, as he puts it, to live while dying. He died on March 23, 2015, while we were in production on this show. His words hold abiding joy and beauty, and reveal an unexpected view opened by this disease.

March 19, 2015

Alzheimer's disease has been described as "the great unlearning." But what does it reveal about the nature of human identity? What remains when memory unravels? Alan Dienstag is a psychologist who has led support groups with early Alzheimer's patients, as well as a writing group he co-designed with the novelist Don DeLillo. He's experienced the early stages of Alzheimer's as a time for giving memories away rather than losing them.

March 12, 2015

For several hundred years, much of scientific advance has been about exploring human beings, including their actions and choices, in terms of mechanism — our bodies, our brains, physical processes. Research psychologist Michael McCullough believes that understanding our minds as mechanistic creates moral possibility. He’s led groundbreaking studies on the evolution and cultivation of moral behaviors such as forgiveness and gratitude. Arthur Zajonc is a physicist and contemplative, who believes that the farthest frontiers of science are bringing us back to a radical reorientation towards life and the foundations for our moral life.

March 05, 2015

Eve Ensler has helped women all over the world tell the stories of their lives through the stories of their bodies. Her play, "The Vagina Monologues," has become a global force in the face of violence against women and girls. But she herself also had a violent childhood. And it turns out that she, like so many Western women, was obsessed by her body and yet not inhabiting it without even knowing she wasn't inhabiting her body — until she got cancer.

February 2015

February 26, 2015

In life as in song, Joe Henry says "we're really called not to dispel mystery but to abide it, to engage it." He brings an inward wisdom to the art and craft of making music. Cherished by fans and fellow musicians alike, he’s produced a dozen albums of his own and for an array of artists, including Ani DiFranco, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, and Billy Bragg. And, he’s written songs together with Rosanne Cash and Madonna. With Joe Henry, we probe the mystery and adventure of discovering life through music.

February 19, 2015

Wisdom for how we can move and heal our society in our time as the Civil Rights Movement galvanized its own. Lucas Johnson is bringing the art and practice of nonviolence into a new century, for new generations. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons was an original Black Power feminist and a grassroots leader of the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

February 12, 2015

In her TED talks that have been viewed by millions of people and the research she does for Match.com, Helen Fisher wields science as a sobering, if entertaining, lens on what feels like the most meaningful encounters of our lives. She is a leading anthropologist/explorer on the new frontier of seeing inside our brains when love and sex happen. And she reveals how we can take this knowledge as a form of power — to give conscious new meaning to the thrilling and sometimes treacherous human realms of love, sex, and marriage.

February 05, 2015

Often quoted, but rarely interviewed, Mary Oliver is one of our greatest and most beloved poets. At 79, she honors us with an intimate conversation on the wisdom of the world, the salvation of poetry, and the life behind her writing.

January 2015

January 29, 2015

Courage is borne out of vulnerability, not strength. This finding of Brené Brown’s research on shame and "wholeheartedness" shook the perfectionist ground beneath her own feet. And now it’s inspiring millions to reconsider the way they live, parent, and navigate relations with members of the opposite gender.

January 22, 2015

The Vietnamese Zen master, whom Martin Luther King nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, is a voice of power and wisdom in this time of tumult in the world. We visited Thich Nhat Hanh at a retreat attended by police officers and other members of the criminal justice system; they offer stark gentle wisdom for finding buoyancy and “being peace” in a world of conflict, anger, and violence.

January 15, 2015

We take in the extraordinary wisdom of Congressman John Lewis, on what happened in Selma on Bloody Sunday and beyond — and how it might inform our common life today. A rare look inside the civil rights leaders’ spiritual confrontation with themselves — and their intricate art of nonviolence.

January 08, 2015

The history of rebellion is rife with excess and burnout. But new generations have a distinctive commitment to be reflective and activist at once, to be in service as much as in charge, and to learn from history while bringing very new realities into being. Journalist and entrepreneur Courtney Martin and Quaker wise man Parker Palmer come together for a cross-generational conversation about the inner work of sustainable, resilient social change.

January 01, 2015

Two legendary Buddhist teachers shine a light on the lofty ideal of loving your enemies and bring it down to Earth. How can that be realistic, and what do we have to do inside ourselves to make it more possible? In a conversation filled with laughter and friendship, Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman share much practical wisdom on how we relate to that which makes us feel embattled from without, and from within.

apples